So this month has been a bit tight for us money-wise as we’ve just moved. As a result, we have had to cut down a bit on our food shop which for me is a piece of cake as I am used to finding ways to get more for my pennies. Growing up, our family never had much money so spending as little as possible has been something that I have become pretty damn good at. Morten, on the other hand, never had to worry about money and therefore struggles to know where to start when saving money. Because of this, I am currently in charge of the food finances and thought that for those of you that didn’t really know how to do so, I would post a few basic tips and tricks for finding the best deals when shopping.
1. The Reduced section is now your Best Friend.
I’m not telling you that you should only shop here but this is my first stop on a trip to the supermarket. This section hosts the products which are close to their sell-by date, packaging which is slightly deformed or broken and products which have been over-ordered/not selling as well as expected. This means that it is all still in good enough condition that it can still be eaten. Don’t be afraid of a slightly bashed in can. There’s nothing wrong with it except the fact that it doesn’t look as cosmetically pleasing as a regular can but if you get 30p off some baked beans just because it doesn’t look very nice, it’s worth doing. This also goes for pre-prepared meals which have been thrown about a bit- they often look like a mess but they won’t taste any different.
2. Learn your shop’s weekly rota.
The best time to search for deals is usually around the days when a supermarket receives a delivery. Usually the day before or the day of a delivery, supermarkets will try to get rid of all their excess fresh stock- for example, dairy produce and pre-packaged meals. This is because they need the extra space on the shelves for their new stock and the older stuff is much too close to it’s sell-by date.
3. Learn the terminology.
Sell-by date means when it needs to be SOLD BY.
Best Before is a guideline of when it is BEST TO EAT, not a solid rule. Technically it is still legal to sell a product after it’s best before date but it doesn’t mean it will be fit for consumption.
Use By is a more rigid rule- it is instructing you WHEN you should not consider eating it. It is also illegal to sell anything after it’s use by date.
4. Learn to spot out of date food.
Sometimes when looking at food in the reduced section, you will come across food which is not fit for consumption but a lot of people don’t realise that food is often fine even if it doesn’t look its best. Bananas that have gone a little brown are still good for things like milkshakes or cooking so often you can get a good bargain on such items because the supermarket will consider them spoiled.
5. Tins are your right hand man.
Stock up on tins! At any given time, I have at least 2 tins of chick peas and some soup at home. Tins are pretty damn special when you are trying to save. They basically never go off and they are usually cheap to buy- for example, a tin of Tomato soup from Asda costs 24p. That’s four lunches for less than a pound. Usually I will save tins for those months when things are a bit tighter as it eases the food spend and we can save on lunches for the week. Legumes like chick peas and kidney beans are a great replacement for meat if you can’t afford to use it in every meal. Beans are good protein replacements as well as being a filling food. Choosing a can of 23p (Asda again) Kidney Beans over a £3.00 chicken breast just once a week will make a significant difference to your food bill at the end of the month.
So there you are. Five basic tips for staying on top of your food bill. Each week I will be writing up more tips for you guys to follow so that we can all start spending a little less on our groceries because lets face it, we could all do with a little bit of extra dosh at the end of the month! If you are looking for a good way to get freebies from shops, check out this post on how to make the most of loyalty cards.